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Tag Archives: beauty

ECO GLAM – Save the Date! November 17th, 2013

Ecole Holt Couture – School of Couture Sewing Tailoring and Design’s 4th annual Fashion Event Fundraiser for Making Changes Association Calgary – ECO GLAM – is on Sunday November 17th, at the Calgary Winter Club from 1pm to 5pm.

If you wonder how ecology and glamour could possibly synchronize, then you might want to see this year’s fashion event.  Ecole Holt Couture’s shares its view on how using high quality materials, extreme craftsmanship, and on how focusing on individual style can sustain the well-being of the planet, take care of people, and produce a profitable bottom line.

It may still be a secret to most, but it is no surprise that true Couture and Tailoring have honoured these concepts for a very long time. Wouldn’t you like to do something that you really love doing, know that you are doing your best to do the right thing, and earn a living doing it?

Let’s look at ‘Glamour’. Something that most of us can only aspire to, is really expense, and is totally impractical. Right?

The idea of supporting Fair trade practices, paying living wages, working and living conditions, global well being, “blah, blah, blah”- well is so – totally not about fashion. Right?

Wrong! We only don’t care about what we don’t know about, doesn’t affect us, or can’t change, but once we become aware of something it affects our consciousness and we can see and look at things from a different perspective, and affect change – even at our own seemingly insignificant level.

For most of us wearing clothes that actually last longer than a few months seems a bit weird because we  can’t imagine anything that is really worth hanging on to – other than for sentimental reasons….

We haven’t always needed to be so conscious of saving our planet using Green materials and who makes things and how things are made. If you’ve grown up in the last 15 years ‘repurposing materials’ is a new idea, but it is an ancient idea.  But, why would anyone spend so much money on clothing when you can pick up the latest and newest at the big box stores or at places like Top Shop really cheap? Why would anyone care to pay more?

What seems even more strange is that some people really love spending long hours creating something that totally engages their minds and hands, working on something that is not only beautiful, but also something that has more  purpose and meaning behind it than what appears on the surface, and that has taken years to learn and master!

Come and see what we experience:  a satisfying world, one of full of opportunity, beauty, fulfilment and sufficiency. Stay tuned for more…..

Eco Glam Fashion Event

Eco Glam Fashion Event

 

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EHC Back to School April 3rd

This ‘March break’ thing is passing by all too quickly! And I wonder when we will see some green buds on the trees here in Calgary? I understand that EHC students have been very busy during their time off and are preparing to return after the Easter long weekend.

New applications for the 2013-2014 Fall Term are arriving at the office, and so for registrants it will be quite busy  during the summer months, getting resources and home studios all lined up.

The last Term of the 2012-2013 school year, April to June, will be especially exciting for those who are graduating. A full day workshop is planned to develop their professional portfolios, led by Leela Jacobs experienced in producing and directing photo shoots across the country and down south of the border. Students will be working on Term 12 projects plus planning their final projects – which are entirely designed and created following a set of requirements – and will be involved in producing the EHC Fashion Show and Fundraiser Event held on November 17th, 2013, at the Calgary Winter Club.

As part of the curriculum we have been covering and reviewing the importance of creating your ‘business plan’ using Cultural Human Resources Council ‘the Art of Managing your Career’ manual, the only one developed for cultural workers in Canada, (specifically for artistic and creative types who work on their own or run their own businesses). As well, EHC incorporated much of what it takes to run an atelier with good customer service (and how that is defined), the typical paperwork that needs to be done in day to day operations, etc. as Ecole Holt Couture is a real couture and tailoring business as well as teaching facility.

Also, a workshop is planned in May at EHC School, led by a Business Accounts Manager from the Royal Bank of Canada, outlining what you should do in creating in your ‘business plan’, plus introducing resources for up and coming entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. This workshop will be open to all current and past EHC students, which is a unique opportunity to get information from ‘the horse’s mouth’ so to speak.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week – Happy Easter! – J

working on the most comfortable shirt dress - 100% linen

working on the most comfortable shirt dress – 100% linen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cashmere winter coat - in progress

cashmere winter coat – in progress

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working with fur and traditional tailoring methods

working with fur and traditional tailoring methods

 

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EHC ‘How to sew’ video series

EHC has added a new web page called ‘Couture Sewing Tips and Secrets’ featuring a video series on ‘how to sew’ basics and tidbits of useful information about professional Couture and Tailoring. We’ve had great feedback to date on the ‘how to thread a needle with one, two and three strands of thread’ and ‘how to sew on a button the couture way’, and the ‘basic back stitch’ videos. http://www.ecoleholtcouture.com/sewing-tips-secrets.php

We are working on more demonstration videos showing skills that everyone could benefit by, and how new students to EHC actually begin in the certificate program. Since haute couture is all about high quality standards of hand sewing techniques and high quality materials, this is a great introduction into what EHC expects its students to master, much before they are let loose on expensive materials.

We will also share some secrets along the way. As more people have become acquainted with Ecole Holt Couture’s teaching method and curriculum, more interest has been generated in acquiring these traditional skills and how to apply them in our current day context.

But, a valuable point that came up during in-class discussions worth emphasizing is that Couture Sewing and Tailoring is not in the exclusive realm of female skills and talents. It is true that more women work at this profession than men; but many men have been, and are, in the business of sewing especially in men’s bespoke tailoring. In our once mostly male dominated societies, men rose to the top of fame and fortune in fashion over females as the well-known conceptual designers, but not as commonly known is that some were supremely skilled artisans/craftsmen as well, such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Roger Vivier and more recently Alexander McQueen.

There is no reason today, why men are not as involved in or engaged as Couturiers as women are other than I suspect, the stigma attached to a perceived ‘weak or over refined profession’ of sewing in fashion – as hair styling or dance once was. EHC welcomes all who have the passion and determination to master this art, and hope that the parents of young men also fully support them in their aspirations just as do the parents of young women in becoming professionals in Couture and Tailoring.

Balenciaga - 1951 - from the Metropolitan Museum collection

Balenciaga – 1951 – from the Metropolitan Museum collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balenciaga - 1957 - from the Metropolitan Museum collection

Balenciaga – 1957 – from the Metropolitan Museum collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Vivier - for House of Dior - from the Metropolitan Museum collection

Roger Vivier – for House of Dior – from the Metropolitan Museum collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Vivier 1956 - house of Dior - from the Metropolitan Museum collection

Roger Vivier 1956 – house of Dior – from the Metropolitan Museum collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander McQueen 2007 - from the Metropolitan Museum collection

Alexander McQueen 2007 – from the Metropolitan Museum collection

2011EN2410_jpg_l a mcqueen 2000

Alexander McQueen 2000 – from the Metropolitan Museum collection

 

 

 

 

 

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My Best Friend’s Closet!

Ecole Holt Couture School of Couture Sewing and Design students and staff visited their community partners Making Changes Association of Alberta in Calgary on Wednesday – an organization that works with around 100 agencies in and round the city that refer clients to MCA, who wish to re-enter the workforce and need employment and life skills guidance. MCA provides that guidance and wardrobes to their clients for free and have recently begun a Teen program called My Best Friend’s Closet providing not only school clothing, but professional image consulting services and a gathering place for these young women to share time and friendship in a nurturing creative safe environment.

The artwork at the reception desk

The facility is anything but officiously dull or intimidating, but bright and cheerful and looks like a high end boutique for Teens – is truly inspiring for any young woman that is facing the prospect of looking great and feeling truly comfortable in her school environment – trying to fit in with her peers all the while going through some pretty challenging life pressures. This place and the trained volunteers are totally encouraging providing pro make-up tips, jewelry/accessories, a full school wardrobe – including a gym kit, and a refuge of normalcy to teen clients who have been marginalized – coming from all sectors of society.

Lili Bunce, the Executive Director of MCA and her just groomed little pooch, welcomed us with coffee and muffins, pop and pizza; gave us the grand tour and provided her insights into the successes and challenges of the organization, and the invaluable commitment and contributions of their many volunteers who actually make the place work so well.

Lili on far right and EHC group

Thank you Lili!

Where do we fit in? Ecole Holt Couture‘s annual fashion event fundraiser “Dress Code” is for Making Changes Association and will be staged Sunday November 18th at the Calgary Winter Club – so save the date! This year’s theme is addressing ‘occasions that would require attendees to arrive per a Dress Code’ – so what does it all mean???? Tickets will go on sale – will provide more information soon. Come join us and have an inspirational and fun afternoon!

Were they inspired or what?

 

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Cashmere in the summer?

Cashmere in the summer?

If you are anything like me or have a similarly busy schedule during the time between the end and the beginning of each summer break, you probably don’t have time to take the care of your wardrobe during the year that you should be taking.

If picking up your dry cleaning and doing essential laundry is the most you achieve, you are not alone. Having put anything that needs mending or tending aside in a bag for one year, filled the bag up by the beginning of summer and now looks overwhelming! It needn’t be.

What seemed like impossible time to set aside during the year now looks like 10 to 30 minutes tops for each item. That means in one day I can attend to all mending and have done with it ready for ‘back to work’ and wardrobe ready for the coming year, and a good excuse to sit outside in the shade (or sun if you like) and still be productive. Sewing on buttons, sewing up torn hem stitches, and defuzzing sweaters – easy peasy!

Not being one to have merino woolens and cashmere sweaters dry cleaned – because it strips all the cosiness, shape and good looks right out of them, I decided to take one really hot day and stick my hands into lovely cool waters to hand launder all the sweaters which have piled up over the months.

Normally, I don’t have the space in my cramped living quarters or the inclination, to spread out and block the woolens on the floor to let them dry properly.

So, before I thought about it too much to talk myself out of this overwhelming chore, I used up the shampoo brand that I found I don’t like to use on my hair and used it for the woolens. Perfect solution to washing a protein product! Cool water to soak, suds, rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse again, press out the water into some beach towels, and then lay out (block to shape) all the sweaters on the lawn – over dry towels of course, and to my amazement what would normally take overnight to dry, were dry in a couple of hours – and they smell brand new fresh.

All my mending and hand washing done in the space of two days, ready for the coming work year and I can enjoy a guilt free summer break! Another tip about woolens during the year – leave them out in fresh air after you wear them – at least for a day. This prolongs the freshness and wear you get out of them before you need to launder or dry clean again. Wool fabric and woolens have the natural ability to shed odors, where synthetics just absorb them.

Keep in mind and Follow these tips:

  1. Always use cool water, and always use the same temperature water for soaking, sudsing and the several rinsings required – it is the change of temperature in water that causes shrinking.
  2. Never “rub” wet woolen items – this causes felting of wool fibres.
  3. Use an inexpensive square plastic washing up bowl (purchased at Wal-Mart) placed inside your kitchen sink to wash each piece and use for each step – it is plenty large enough for most items and prevents wasting water or using excess amounts of water for each piece.
  4. Use shampoo as the cleanser as it is meant for hair, and technically wool is hair. It matters little what brand of shampoo you use, most brands are fairly gentle on hair these days.
  5. Shampoo won’t easily strip essential oils from wool and leaves the item feeling soft when dry – you could add hair conditioner to the final rinse if you are concerned with static – but, a little experience would be the best advisor as to when and how much to use.
  6. Dilute the shampoo in the cool water first before putting the item into the bowl.
  7. Then lay the item in the water – folded as if you were putting it away into your drawer. Keep the item as close to this folded configuration as possible as you proceed. If the item is more delicate insert it into a mesh ditty bag and then remove it when you are ready to block the item.
  8. Leave the item alone in the water to soak for 20 minutes first, and then pat down with your delicate fingers repeatedly to force the soapy water through the whole item.
  9. Only ever PAT the item down in the water to cause movement of water through the fibres, never swirl, twist, pull or wring any woolens – excess agitation causes felting and mis-shaping of woolens.
  10. Lift the item out of the soapy water, drain the bowl, turn the bowl upside down, place the item on it and gently press excess water away,
  11. Then begin the rinse process by filling the bowl again with clean cool water, and repeating the patting down process in clean cool rinse waters several times.
  12. Repeat until the water is almost clear. It isn’t necessary that the final rinse water is absolutely clear, because what causes some of the cloudiness are small wool fibres suspended in the water.
  13. Press out the final excess water gently, then unfold item gently and press out the rest of the water by laying the item as flat and as to-shape as possible on a large dry bath or beach towel.
  14. Roll the towel up from one end like a bed roll while gently pressing the items as you roll – never twist the roll.
  15. Unroll the item and lay out on another clean dry towel laid out on a flat surface where you intend to leave it to dry, arrange the shape being careful not to pull – just tease the item into shape – this is called blocking.
  16. Leave in place until dry. If you use a fold-away laundry rack on your balcony, or use the grass in your back garden makes no difference to the outcome, but wherever you lay out the items make sure it is not near a manmade or direct heat source. Leaving the item out in the sunshine is fine and will dry, on a hot day, in a couple of hours.
  17. Just remember to handle gently – ‘gentleness’ is the trick. Wash woolens as you would your own hair without any scrubbing.
  18. Success without excessive effort!

Cashmere

 

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Who are we? CRAVE: Calgary

…found this great video seeking to articulate who we are and what the soul of our city is. You may say that your own city is the same…what do you think?

 

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nOw tHaT’s C.L.A.S.S.

Hope that everyone had a great Victoria Day long weekend (here in Canada) for those not familiar with the May holiday – we have chosen to honor Queen Victoria and called it a holiday!

An issue that is very close to EHC’s heart is the sustainability of what we are doing in the fashion world. We believe that creating beauty with longevity and ethical business practices is incredibly sustainable and GREEN if you pay attention to what and how you do it.

According to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit  The fashion industry is one of the world’s largest industries, and one of the most polluting. The impact on our planet has reached it’s maximum. This calls for action.

Copenhagen Fashion Summit is the world’s largest and most important conference on sustainability and CSR in the fashion industry. The biennial Summit gathers more than 1000 key industry stakeholders to identify new opportunities and forward-looking solutions for the global fashion industry to tackle the growing challenges facing the planet. Comparatively, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting and socially challenged industries.

One solution to a more sustainable fashion industry lies within the theme of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2012: Sustainable consumption. Consumers can play a pivotal role in transitioning the fashion industry towards more sustainable business models. The Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2012 addresses how the industry can raise awareness and interest amongst consumers to choose sustainable fashion and sustainable consumption of fashion.

This site is worth visiting with several videos of key speakers addressing sustainability. Another newsletter you may want to sign up for is C.L.A.S.S. – Creative Lifestyle and Sustainable Synergy organization which shares information about how to achieve this and more.

Posted by C.L.A.S.S. on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 · Leave a Comment

… forging a stronger bond between creative glamour and sustainable business!

Under the patronage of the Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, the recently concludedCopenhagen Fashion Summit 2012 brought together leading figures from the fashion and textile industry who pursue a common vision of eco-friendly and sustainable business.

Once again a huge success, the event – with an impressive roster of speakers and the presence of designers from 27 different countries – drew an enthusiastic crowd representing more than a thousand companies worldwide.

Prominent economists and politicians joined officers from world-class firms to take an active part in seminars on exploring innovative ways for the global high-end textile and fashion industry to tackle today’s environmental challenges. The summit focused particular attention on how to involve and engage end users in sustainable consumption.

Key speakers were: Holly Dublin (PPR Group), Rossella Ravagli (Gucci), Helena Helmersson (H&M), Giordano Capuano (Vivienne Westwood), Mark Sumner (Marks & Spencer), Anne Prahl (WSGN) and Michael Schragger (Sustainable Fashion Academy).

Organized by the Danish Fashion Institute for Nordic Fashion Association (NFA) – which also includes Helsinki Design Week, Icelandic Fashion Council, Oslo Fashion Week, Swedish Fashion Council – this year’s event benefited equally from valuable cooperation on the part of C.L.A.S.S. (Creativity, Lifestyle And Sustainable Synergy), an international forum set in motion by Giusy Bettoni to promote the development of green products/business plans in the fashion and design sphere.

Read more….

C.L.A.S.S.

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

A call went out to the students at EHC for inspiration for this week’s weblog – they came back with the theme of Mother’s Day.  Looking into the origins of this celebration I came across several versions of its history and its varying celebratory traditions.  But, it is important just to recognize the contributions of all great women, mothers, and in my case, my mother the founder of EHC, who is strong willed, energetic and has a great Vision.

As Founder of EHC, Elfriede has dedicated the past 20 years of her life to developing Ecole Holt Couture based on her ideals, 60+ years of experience and the fortunate opportunity of her own training.  Not one to be put off by some resistance and more than a few obstacles she has contributed a wealth of knowledge to be passed on to future generations to take advantage of as the basis for a career in Couture Fashion.

It appears that the Mother’s Day that we are familiar with in North America can be traced back to the name of three incredible women.  In recognizing these women who have been given the credit for establishing Mother’s Day, countless others – who to us are now nameless – have also given their support to these heroic efforts.

Anna Reeves Jarvis and Anna Marie Jarvis

In the 1850’s, American – Anna Reeves Jarvis, organized Mother Work Day Clubs that focused on providing medicine for the poor and on improving sanitary conditions. Then, during the Civil War, Mother’s Day Clubs cared for all soldiers — regardless of which side of the battle they had chosen. After the war ended, Anna continued her peacemaking by working to bring people together to heal the deep wounds of those who had been divided by the war. In light of this, in 1872 Anna celebrated a special day terming it Mothers’ Day for Peace.

After Anna Reeves Jarvis died, her daughter Anna M. Jarvis campaigned for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in remembrance of her mother and in honor of peace.

In 1908, Anna petitioned the superintendent of the church where her Mother had spent over 20 years teaching Sunday school. Her request was honored, and on May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day celebration took place at Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia and a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The West Virginia event drew a congregation of 407 and Anna Jarvis arranged for white carnations—her Mother’s favorite flower—to adorn the patrons. Today, white carnations are used to honor deceased Mothers, while pink or red carnations pay tribute to Mothers who are still alive.

In 1912, Anna M Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association. In 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

Anna had become disappointed with its commercialization already by the 1920s.”Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card,” she also once pointed out, “There is no connection between candy and this day.”

As Mother’s Day celebration began in 1908 in the US, it was followed in Canada a year later in 1909.

Julia Ward Howe

Social and Anti-Slavery activist Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) who wrote ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’, also wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870, which she delivered at a Women’s Peace Conference in London. The proclamation was an antiwar reaction and belief that women had a social responsibility to shape their societies.

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:
 
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.
 
“We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
  
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.
 
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
 
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
 
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
 
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.             Julia Ward Howe Boston 1870

Mothering Sunday in the UK

In the Roman religion the Hilaria festival was held in honour of the mother goddess Cybele and it took place during mid-March. As the Roman Empire and Europe slowly converted to Christianity, this celebration became part of the liturgical calendar as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent to honour the Virgin Mary and the “mother church“.

Although the beginnings of Christianity in England can be traced back to 300AD, it appears that by 1400 AD like the rest of Europe, England and Ireland were observing the mid-Lent holiday and honored their “Mother Church,” by decorating the church with flowers where they were baptized; it was considered important for them to return to their “mother” church at least once a year.

Mothering Sunday by the 1700’s, was observed by taking a break from the fasting and penitence of Lent and having a family feast. Children would make a rare journey home from their apprenticeships and jobs in ‘service’ to spend one day a year with their mother and family. They would pick wild flowers along the way to place them in the church or to give them to their mothers as gifts. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday and the secular tradition of giving gifts, cakes and flowers—especially violets—to mothers.

Constance Penswick-Smith

In the early 1900’s to 1920s, the custom of keeping Mothering Sunday had tended to lapse in the UK, Ireland and in continental Europe. But, in 1914 inspired by Anna Jarvis, Constance Penswick-Smith created the Mothering Sunday Movement,and in 1921 she wrote a book asking for the revival of the Mothering Sunday festival. It also experienced a wide scale revival in the UK through the influence of American and Canadian soldiers serving abroad during World War II.

The traditions of Mothering Sunday, practised by the Church of England and Church of Ireland were merged with the newly-imported traditions still celebrated in the wider Catholic communities. By the 1950s Mother’s day was celebrated by everyone in Ireland and the UK on the same day that Mothering Sunday was celebrated, however, the two celebrations are not the same observance.

Today over 70 countries observe Mother’s Day  http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/about-mothersday/history/#anna

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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Calgary Spring War-drab

Caught on video Banff National ParkThis Photo captured by video in Banff National Park on March 28, 2012 even Lynx is looking for Spring…

An interesting time of year Spring, when one starts to experience symptoms of cabin fever and the longing to just get outside in the sunshine and warming fresh air. Here in Calgary Spring really doesn’t exist as most people know it. The clocks change to daylight savings time – we can’t imagine why this tradition still persists, the calendar proclaims the vernal equinox, and yet we don’t experience flowers bursting out of the ground, greening of the grass or buds on trees. In fact at Easter, we could still be dealing with grey frozen mounds of dirty snow, cold winds and threats of freak snow storms.

Our winter weather is prolonged until well into late April or May when one day it seems everything suddenly changes and wakes up as if late for work, hurriedly gets dressed into bright greens, and manages to catch up to Summertime knocking at the door offering everyone a lift to mid-summer activities. The roads may still be heaped with dry pickle from the winter until July when the City trucks turn up in swathing teams to sweep it all away.

Wardrobe planning sort of skips spring season here, and marches straight from Winter to Summer in the respect that light coloured trench coats and pastel trousers don’t seem to work well facing cutting icy wind gusts and possibly new snow, dusty rain with some intense sunshine – all within the same day. Everyone is loath to put away down filled jackets too soon, but has no problem wearing short pants with it – just in case.

Our spring wardrobes really are reincarnations of Fall season wardrobes that work perfectly well until we shed the cashmere sweaters and change into summertime cotton dresses, linen suits, and trade in winter boots for rainbow striped sandals.  We envy those who can sport white and bright colours with open toes shoes in April as displayed on the runways.

One great thing about Calgary summers, when they finally arrive, is that they rarely like to give up until the end of September and sometimes tease us with gorgeous hot sunny days into October when finally relenting to Fall weather. Calgary wardrobes are really most effective consisting of interchangeable pieces for Winter, Summer and Fall. Plan ahead and save the spring wear for your next vacation to Paris….dream on J…

Very Chic for Autumn or Indian Summer

Photos thanks to http://www.thesartorialist.com/  OK so he can get away with white jeans and no socks…lol

 

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Couturier Magic

One of the differences between a fashion designer and a couturier is that a designer may not be able to turn their creation into workable realities on their own without the help of the pattern maker, or have sufficient knowledge of fabrics and their properties along with respective technical structuring methods and skills. These other experts may also advise the designer on occasion that what they have designed is not possible to achieve.

Couturiers have the advantage of being insiders to all of this knowledge and experience. Of course, the training to become a couturier is therefore more intense and takes longer to master the skills.

Couturiers also are also trained to visualize garments in three dimensions; how a garment looks from the front, back and in profile is also very important to a successful design. In this respect, they can also creatively conceal how and where a garment is closed rather than the standard front center, back center or side. Also how a particular element of design will be supported is so important.

Not quite sure about what is happening with the bodice on Sophie’s dress below, but it’s not a good look foremost because it doesn’t fit her properly. How would you press the creases out of the skirt below? Ah, but yes there is a way that the skirt could be constructed to have full access for pressing!

Everyone can picture a low cut back or low cut neckline seen at the Oscar’s award evening gown for instance, but honestly, no one should have to use sticky tape to keep that neckline or back line from revealing too much. (Let’s put a theatrical disclaimer in here, where anything goes for the stage – temporarily). Or using another example of a ballooned skirt, it must definitely be supported but also be accessible to be pressed after it has been cleaned or worn several times. How patterned fabric is matched, draped or joined invisibly is also in the realm of the couturier’s skills.

One might think that couturiers are so constrained by all the above technicalities that creative new ideas may be hampered or left unexplored to accomplish things that have not been done previously. Yes, that could happen, but experienced professional couturiers are inventors of methods, and are more potentially constrained by the lack of adventurous clients than by the lack of ideas. J…

Photos – Yohji Yamamoto designer

 

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